Amnesty International, Cooley

Bylaws effective May 12, 2011





Amnesty International’s mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights. Amnesty International is independent of any government, political ideology or religious creed. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.




Corporate Identity and Definitions

A.   Name: The name of the corporation is the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Amnesty International Law Students Association, referred to in these by-laws as the AILSA.


B.    Authority: The AILSA is a non-profit corporation under the laws of the state of Michigan chartered on ___________.



C.    Fiscal Year: The fiscal year of the AILSA shall be the calendar year.


D.   Definitions:

1.     AILSA President: is the President of Amnesty International Law Students’ Association.

2.     Agenda: an order of business, usually written and expressly adopted for a particular session, which assigns times and positions to specific items of business.

3.     By-laws: laws that an organization agrees to follow that provide efficient and equitable transaction of business and to protect its membership.

4.     Executive board: is composed of the AILSA President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary.

5.     Graduate:  A student is considered to have graduated and no longer eligible to be a member of the AILSA in any capacity the last day of the final exam period of the last term they are enrolled and not be extended until they have received their diploma.

6.     Good Academic Standing: a student in good academic standing is one who had a 2.0 GPA or higher on the date that he/she is sworn into his/her official position.

7.     Rules of Order: written rules of procedure for business meetings, all executive board meetings and voting procedures will be conducted as per the Roberts Rules of Order.

8.     Majority Vote: at least one more than half of the votes cast by persons entitled to vote, including aye, nay blanks, or abstentions, at a regular or properly called meeting at which quorum is present.  There willbe a provision for Absentee or Proxy voting.



Article II

                                                Purpose and Affiliation

A.   Purpose: The purpose of the AISLA as stated in its Articles of Incorporation is:


1.     To foster support and legal mentorship for students engaged in human rights activities.

2.     To promote academic and social interaction amongst students, faculty, administration and other civil/human rights group in the wider community.


B.    Affiliation: The AISLA is affiliation with the Thomas M. Cooley Law School  and


Amnesty International USA (AIUSA).


Article III


A.   Definition: Membership in the Association will be open to any student at Thomas M. Cooley, faculty member, administrator or staff person and anyone interested in promoting the organizational goals regardless of race, sex, creed, national origin, disability, or other status protected under international human rights law.

B.    Membership: A registered member will be one who is active and pays organization dues.

C.   Membership Dues: Members of the AISLA will pay student activity fees collected by the organization for the use and benefit of the AISLA. The amount of such fee will be determined by the organization, by agreement with the Student Bar Association and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. There will be an annual fee of $10 for AISLA membership OR a per-term membership fee of $5.  Executive Board Members are not required to pay membership dues.  All finances shall be handled in accordance with the established fiscal procedures in effect for the school in the Financial Aid Office Procedures Manual/Honor Code.


D.   Membership Privileges:All registered/voting members shall be eligible to hold office and serve on committees within the organization.


Article IV

                                                            Executive Board Officers

A.   The Executive Board Officers of the AISLA will carry out the administrative functions necessary for operation of the AISLA.



B.    Executive Officers


There shall be elected officers for the positions of:

a)    President

b)    Vice-President

c)     Secretary

d)    Treasurer

e)     Parliamentarian

f)     Public Relations Chairman

g)    Communication Chairman

h)    Special Event/Fundraising Chairman

i)      Diversity Chairman

The AISLA Executive Board reserves the right to amend these by-laws to include additional board positions necessary for operations of the AISLA.


C.   Duties of the Executives Officers:

The AISLA President shall:

1.     Preside over all meetings.


2.     Call special meetings, after providing reasonable notice to all registered board members.


3.     Appoint all committees not otherwise provided for in these By-laws.


4.     Appoint individuals to perform the duties of an absent or suspended officer.


5.     Ensure that the AISLA by-laws are adhered to and enforced.


6.     Disseminate information received from National Office.


7.     Represent the group at all coordinating meeting with the Student Bar Association (SBA) or appoint an Executive Board member to attend.


8.     Keep the faculty advisor informed of all the activities the organization is planning


9.     Co-sign all checks with the Treasurer.


10.  Have the power to assign, reassign, or remove any board member, as he/she deems appropriate.


11.  In the event the elections coordinator wishes to run for an office, the outgoing president will step into the shoes of the Coordinator.




D.   The AISLA Vice-President shall:


1.     Attend all meetings.


2.     Act under the direction of the President and perform such duties as the President directs.


3.     Assist the President in administrating the business of the group


4.     Substitute for the President in the event the President is unable to carry out duties.


5.     Substitute for other chairs.


6.     Enforce membership requirements


7.     Have the power to assign, reassign, or remove any board member as he/she deems appropriate.


8.     Ensure that the AISLA by-laws are adhered to and enforced in addition to editing and revising by-laws before adopting an amendment.


E.    The Secretary shall:


1.     Attend all meetings.


2.     Record the minutes of all meetings.


3.     Be the custodian of the official corporate records.


4.     Certify the authenticity of corporate records, and, with the AISLA President, execute documents on behalf of the AISLA.


5.     Issue notice of meetings and agenda after consultation with the AISLA President.


6.     Provide members with written notification when two absences are received.


7.     Have the power to give or excuse the absences of the Vice-President to all AISLA meetings if the Vice-President can show reasonable cause for the absence.


8.     Inform the communications chairman of correspondence regarding Executive Board concerns and events, which must passed on to all registered members.


9.     Maintain an official record of the attendance of all members of the Board at all regular or special meetings.


10.  Notify members of the Board and initiate expulsion measures when absences exceed the number allowed.


11.  Maintain and keep current the official AISLA, Cooley notebook in the SBA office


F.    The Treasurer shall:

1.     Attend all meetings.


2.     Maintain the financial records of the AISLA


3.     Receive all monies due to the AISLA and give receipt thereof.


4.     Render statements of accounts to the Executive Board.


5.     Report to the Executive Board at each meeting:

a.     The balance of the AISLA account

b.     The total dollar amount allocated over the preceding week.

c.     The remaining amount budgeted but not yet spent.


6.     Make such payments from AISLA funds as approved by the Executive Board.


7.     Have all expenses approved by the President.


8.     Make all books and records of the Treasurer open to public inspection upon written notice two school days prior to inspection.


9.     Give a monthly report and an up-to-date report at all meetings on the financial status of AISLA, Cooley.


10.  Make all deposits within 72 hours (3 days) of receipts of funds.


11.  Make copies of all bad checks received.


12.  Publish a financial statement three times annually.


13.  Be responsible for the completion and filing of any and all tax related forms.


14.  Be an ex-officio member of the Budget & Finance and Student Services Committees of the Student Bar Association.


15.  Be responsible for the completion and filing of Articles of Incorporation for the State of Michigan each year.


16.  Presenting and responding to any questions by the SBA Budget and Finance Committee.


17.  Calculate the proposing AISLA budget for the appropriate fiscal term.



G.   The Parliamentarian:

1.     Enforce conduct and voting procedures during Executive Board meetings in keeping with the AISLA by-laws and the Robert’s Rule of Order.


2.     Co-chair the Rules and Election Committees.


3.     Be a non-voting member of the Executive Board.


4.     Conduct training of officers.


H.   The Public Relations Chairman shall:


1.     Promote AISLA goals and events via approved advertising and written and oral communication with the student body.


2.     Notify the Secretary of up-coming meetings or events which should be communicated to all registered members.


3.     Reserve rooms for meeting and AISLA events.


4.     Contact vendors, other student organizations, community organizations to coordinate events.


I.     The Communications Chairman shall:


1.     Correspond with all registered members regarding upcoming events, meetings, special dates or general Executive Board concerns.


2.     Work closely with the Secretary and the Public Relations Chairman to ensure adequate and timely communication of Executive Board concerns and upcoming events to the general body.


3.     Take attendance at all regularly scheduled general body meetings for record keeping purposes.


J.     The Special Events /Fundraising Chairman shall:


1.     Plan and coordinate special AISLA events in an effort to promote organizational goals and provide academic and social support for AISLA members.


2.     Work closely with the Public Relations Chairman to plan events and ensure timely communication of scheduled events to the general student body.


K.   The Shadow Members for Each Executive Board position shall:


1.     Attend at least 3 out of 5 meetings.


2.     They should conduct weekly correspondence to find out what happened at missed meeting and contact the secretary.


3.     The Executive Board shall elect shadow members after informal meetings.


4.     The shadow members will pay $15 a year OR $ 5 per semester.


5.     The shadow members can serve 1 or more term.


L.    The Executive Board shall:


In the interest of maintaining a sound relationship between the AISLA and the SBA, the Executive Board has the power to meet, discuss, and take whatever action necessary to establish or re-establish a unified body.


E.    Terms in Office:


a)     An Executive Board member in a particular position (clarify) shall hold office for a term of no less than (2) semesters. (If you accept an executive board position, you must serve 2 terms) and no more than 3 semesters.


b)    A term may begin with any one of the three (3) semesters as per the School calendar year.



F.    Elections and Appointment of Board Members:


a.     To be eligible to be an Executive Board member:


                                               i.     The member must be an active member for a minimum of one (1) term (2).


                                             ii.     Must be actively involved in a committee


                                            iii.     Must submit a resume and cover letter indicating interest in the position at the time the position is vacant.


b.     When an Executive Board Position becomes vacant the election process is as follows:


                                               i.     Person will be nominated by a paid member


                                             ii.     Another paid member will second the nomination


                                            iii.     Followed by general body elections


                                            iv.     The majority vote wins


c.     There shall be general elections in week 10 of the spring semester (for the positions of president and vice-president of the organization, interested persons must have been a member of the Executive Board for one semester.


d.     Absentee voting (voting by proxy)



                                               i.     If a paid member can not be present on the day and at the time of general body election, the absentee voting will occur by sending an email to the AISLA email address__________.


                                             ii.     The email should include:


1.     The name of person voting

2.     Particular candidate voting for


                                            iii.     Note: Votes must be submitted no later than 11:59 pm on the day of elections. Any votes received after this time will be considered null and void.


e.     Resignation  


                                               i.     Any member may withdraw from


G.   Record of Board Positions

Each board member shall keep a record of correspondence and instructions for their particular position.

H.   Vacancies and Removal


1.     Any vacancy on the Executive Board shall be filled by general election of the members.


2.     Executive members will slide into vacancies and be termed interim members until general elections occur.


3.     Any registered member of the Executive Board may be removed for cause by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board members present at a called meeting.


4.     In the even of removal of an Executive Board member, all of the Coordinators will be asked to cast their vote for this meeting.


5.     Both the positions of the President and the Treasurer must be filled at all times.


I.     Impeachment


1.     The Executive Board may seek to impeach a member of the Executive Board for not fulfilling their duties listed in these By-laws.  The President is responsible for issuing a minimum of two (2) written notices to the offending member, reminding the member of his/her duties under the By-laws. If the deficiencies in the duties have not been resolved within a reasonable amount of time, the Executive Board shall draft a final notice to the member and hold a special Executive Board meeting to address the issue.  The member is invited to discuss the issue at the meeting.  At the end of the meeting, the Executive Board will vote by a secret ballot.


2.     Voting is contingent upon a supermajority of the majority at the meeting.


a.     Supermajority is defined as 75% of the vote (3/4th )


3.     Copies of all notices of deficiencies must be given to the SBA and the appropriate Dean should the member be impeached.


4.     The full Executive Board must be informed of all notices of deficiencies the President issue.

J.     Committees


A.   Urgent Action Coordinator


1.     Duties of the Urgent Action Coordinator shall be to create a committee when necessary and record and report minutes of the committee to the Secretary at an Executive Board meeting regarding the committees’ activities.


2.     Receive Urgent actions.


3.     Copy and distribute to the group.


4.     Maintain a record of all letters written.


5.     Inform the organization of the Urgent Action Updates.


B.    Fundraiser Coordinator


1.     Duties of the Fundraiser Coordinator shall be to:


                                                        i.     Creatively develop ideas for AISLA to be used at the discretion of the Executive Board upon agreement by the members.


                                                      ii.     Meet with committee members to successfully raise money.


C.   Elections Coordinator


1.     Duties of the Elections Coordinator shall:


                                                        i.     Ensure that ballots cast for the Executive Board is anonymous the Elections Coordinator is not permitted to be running for an Executive Board position.


                                                      ii.     In the event that the Elections Coordinator wishes to run for an office, the outgoing president will step in the place of the Coordinator.




Article V


A.   Scheduled Meetings:


1.     AISLA meetings will be held weekly (bi-weekly), except during school vacation at a time agreed upon by the board.


2.     Any member of the Executive Board may upon reasonable notice call an emergency or unscheduled meeting.



B.    Order of Meetings


1.     Meetings shall be presides over by the President. In the President’s absence, the Vice-President shall preside over the meetings.


2.     Meetings shall be hosted by the AISLA President.


3.     Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the conduct of all meetings.


4.     Members of the executive board shall present their reports at the start of each meeting.


5.     The Communications Chairman shall notify all members of the meeting date by use of an executive medium.


C.   Agenda of Meetings


1.     The President shall set an agenda for each meeting regarding pertinent issues and concerns.


Article VI


These by-laws may be amended based on approval of a two-thirds (2/3) majority of registered AISLA Executive Board members.


A.   Miscellaneous


2.     The President may appoint ad hoc committees as may be appropriate.


3.     These by-laws are effective as of the date signed by the Executive Board and /or members.